Saturday 30 August 2014

Sligo's blazing saddles enjoy day to remember

Published 08/04/2014 | 05:40

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Mayor of Sligo Marcella McGarry and comedian Karl Spain.

THE Sligo Champion Sportive kicked off the inagural SKODA Cycle series. It was a spectacular success.

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THE Sligo Champion Sportive kicked off the inagural SKODA Cycle series. It was a spectacular success.

Hundreds of cyclists from all over the country took part on Saturday

It was a a fitting start to the SKODA series – a new initiative for leisure cyclists feautring seven such events countrywide.

It is organised in association with INM Regional Newspapers.

Managing Director INM Regionals West, John Feerick said: "The Sligo Champion and INM Regionals are delighted to be involved in such a successful event.

"It's a great compliment to Sligo to have launched the series – especially as it is the European Town of Sport this year.

"There was also a welcome boost to the local economy, with many of the cyclists travelling from places such as Killarney, Armagh, Galway, Mayo, etc., to take part.

"Many stayed for the weekend."

Mr Feerick thanked associate sponsors, Whitesides SuperValu, Ballisodare; Flanagan Cycles; Knocknarea Arena IT Sligo, Printfix, Joe Kelly Fresh Fruits, Value Centre, Sligo, Chain Driven Cycles and Good4U.

The charity partners for the local Sportive is the Abbeyquarter Community Centre Afterschool Service.

The service provides homework support and includes a wide range of activities.

Sligo has now certainly set the scene for others to follow.

More than 350 cyclists took to the scenic roads of West Sligo for the 50k and 100k routes.

They cycled on the Coast Road amid some breathtaking views.

Included were model Vogue Williams and her sister, Amber, top comedian, Karl Spain, and Sligo Champion columnist Conor O'Grady.

All completed the 50k event.

Sligo Champion journalist Emma Gallagher finished the 100k while editor Jenny McCudden completed the 50k.

The President of Cycling Ireland, Denis Twomey, completed the Sportive on a tandem with his partner, Audrey.

Feedback to the Sportive was described as "phenomenal."

The pre-event night in Burns SKODA car sales kicked-off the weekend's action.

Cyclists then took to the startling line at 9.30am at The Sligo Park Hotel on Saturday.

Weather conditions were good.

The two routes were designed to cater for the novice and family cyclists as well as the more seasoned cyclists.

The first cyclists in the 50k section were back at base in just under the two-hour mark.

All cyclists were chip-timed.

Individual times and photographs etc. are available at

Bray, County Wicklow, is the next venue on Saturday.

Sligo Champion

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